Apex Court Intervenes
In a decisive and essential judicial intervention, the Supreme Court has appointed a special panel on Manipur violence. The all-women three-member panel is headed by Justice Gita Mittal (former Chief Justice of J&K High Court) and will consist of Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi (former Bombay HC judge) and Justice Asha Menon (former Delhi HC judge).
The Bench headed by CJI D Y Chandrachud said that it will add "one more layer of security" by appointing one top cop to oversee the CBI investigation, who will be report- ing to the apex court itself. During the hearing, as directed by the Supreme Court, the Director General of Police Manipur, Rajiv Singh, was present in the apex court during today's proceedings.
As regards investigation, the Court noted that the Centre has decided to entrust 11 FIRs relating to sexual vio- lence to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The Court at a later stage allowed the transfer of these cases to the CBI. Attorney General R Venkataramani said, "In terms of the SC order: regarding dis- aggregation of offences. we have to be careful. The government is han- dling this at a very mature level".
After all the massive ethnic violence in the border state ignited after a Manipur high court order directing the state government to recommend to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry by May 29, an ST tag for the majority Meitei community.
As regards the State police investiga- tion, the Court noted the statement of the Manipur government that it will constitute 42 SITs to look after cases which are not transferred to the CBI.
Advocate Colin Gonsalves main- tained that there is a need to identify the core ring leaders of the riots. “Once the core elements are caught. Once they are behind bars, who think they are invincible. then the chance of further assaults will disappear," he said.